San Francisco Giants -102 at Milwaukee Brewers -108 (Total: 6.5)
Matt Cain (3-2, 2.67 ERA) vs. Shaun Marcum (2-2, 3.31 ERA)
The 2012 Giants haven’t exactly been the “Lincecum and Cain and pray for rain” Giants of 2010, but they are still getting one heck of an effort from one of the most underrated (or perhaps “under-appreciated by fans” since the Giants gave him a record contract for a righty in the offseason) pitchers in baseball. The team is only 5-3 in games Cain started, but it is hardly his fault. His 2.67 ERA is good, and his WHIP of just 0.82 is sensational. As has often been the refrain of Giants starting pitchers over the past few season, the run support just hasn’t been there.
Tonight they face Shaun Marcum, who is off to a good start this season, but isn’t a lights-out dominant starter. I expect the Giants to be able to scratch out a few runs against Marcum, and when Cain is on his game, a few runs is really all he needs. However, scoring runs is even more of a challenge of late with the bevy of injuries the Giants have suffered. The loss of 3B Pablo Sandoval was devastating enough, but now the rest of their infield has joined him on the DL, with Ryan Theriot and Freddy Sanchez also on the 15-day.
Shaun Marcum only lasted five innings in his last outing. He will be glad to see the light-hitting Giant lineup. However, he will be a little less excited to see Matt Cain out on the hill. The Brewers have been scoring runs, averaging over 4.3 per nine innings; however their batting average is among the lowest in the league. Against right-handers, of which Cain happens to be one of the best on the planet, they are hitting just .231. The Brewers are largely dependent on the long ball, with Corey Hart, Ryan Braun and Ricky Weeks all having homerun potential on every at bat. However Cain doesn’t allow many homeruns. If he can keep the Brewers in the yard, he stands a real good chance to win tonight’s ballgame.
Cain is by no means a lock tonight, considering how bereft the offense is behind him. However, at just -102 they are a nearly even-money pick tonight, making getting one of the best starters in baseball against a lineup that is hitting .231 against righties becomes a nice value play.
Free Pick: San Francisco Giants to WIN -102